The report provides a detailed overview of environmental, social and governance (ESG) activities over the 12 months to December 31 2019.
Shares are up almost 4% to 55.5 cents and have climbed from 26 cents at close on March 23.
Continued ESG focus
Highfield chairman and acting CEO Richard Crookes said: “I am delighted to present our fifth Sustainability Report, which demonstrates our continued focus on operating at the highest ESG standards.
“Mining projects of the magnitude of Muga must be examined, implemented and monitored with the utmost rigour as we have done at Highfield.”
This report includes the activities of both Highfield and its Spanish subsidiary Geoalcali SLU.
UN Global Compact
The report has been included in the company’s 2019 Annual Report and been updated and expanded to reflect the recent successful admission of Geoalcali as a signatory to the United Nations (UN) Global Compact.
The UN’s Sustainability Development Goals (SDG) have been integrated into the corporate sustainability strategy and subsequent reporting.
Crookes said: “Geoalcali being admitted as a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact underlines our continued commitment to the Ten Principles that will continue to shape our approach in adherence to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations.
“This year, our company has once again worked towards this vision by committing to implement a large project with integrated initiatives that contribute to those objectives, with special emphasis on our social and natural environment.”
During 2019, the company was successfully awarded the DIA (environmental permit approval) from the Ministry for Ecological Transition for the Muga project.
Crookes said: “I am extremely proud of the achievements made by the team to date culminating in early June 2019 with the announcement of the DIA award, the major environmental permit for the Muga project.
“This tremendous outcome was the result of years of dedicated and professional work by the Highfield and Geoalcali team and our consultants.
“This result is a demonstration of the group’s unwavering commitment to the highest environmental and social standards.
“I never had any doubt that it would be achieved, nor do I have any doubt that we will obtain the Mining Concessions and construction permits, it is only a matter of time.”
The company also reported zero environmental incidents for the sixth consecutive year.
The company’s materiality assessment matrix
During the year, zero grievances were raised from local communities, who remain overwhelmingly in support of Muga.
Events such as Open Doors, which attracted more than 400 people, gave HFR the opportunity to interact and reaffirm its conviction to develop a project that respects communities.
“In addition, our Foundation continued to support initiatives which contribute to the well-being and development of our nearby communities,” Crookes said.
The rationale behind the creation of the Geoalcali Foundation is to actively contribute to sustainable initiatives to enhance the Muga communities’ well-being, with a special focus on quality education, social integration, sustainable communities, and protection of the environment.
Long term socio-economic impact
The Muga mine will operate in a highly depopulated region where socio-economic development is perceived as a key solution to address this issue.
Muga will contribute to the socio-economic development of the region with the creation of about 800 quality jobs, bringing not only the direct benefit of employment but also indirect benefits via taxes raised, social programs, and business development opportunities within the local communities in a sustainable manner.
However, Geoalcali is conscious of the socio-economic dependency generated by a mine and is focusing on projects that will generate independent benefits not only in parallel with the mining activity but also after the mine has ceased operations.
During the year Geoalcali joined other mining companies, mining associations and the Mines Department of the Government of Navarra to raise awareness of how responsible mining and minerals help achieve a more sustainable world, by launching the MinerÉtica forum.
Crookes said: “[This] was undertaken to raise awareness about the importance of the sector and the reality of the strategic importance of projects such as Muga Mine at local, regional and national levels, especially when they are being developed under the highest standards of protection of the environment and the community.
“I am confident that Muga mine will be an international example of modern mining at the forefront of sustainability.”
Looking to the long term, Crookes said, as a future potash producer, Muga has a role to play in the to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
He said: “The whole world faces greater challenges to sustain our current environment, to turn back the clock on the negative impacts to date and to contribute to a sustainable world for future generations.
“From a global perspective, potash is a great mineral ally in the battle against climate change.”
The company is now focused on advancing the Mining Concession and the application for construction permits to progress the Project into the construction phase, which is expected to take two years to complete.